Thursday | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Though Thursday was the first emo-aligned act to achieve major mainstream success, clearing the way for a tsunami of sensitacho dreck, the New Jersey six-piece stands outside the genre it helped bring to the fore. While his eem-peers are busy trying to peel the panties off the white-belt girls in the front row, front man Geoff Rickly is hell-bent on enlightening his fans, even if he winds up alienating them in the process. Instead of woe-is-me blog dramas set to sleek octave chords, he's interjecting obiter dicta on Edward Said's Orientalism between his band's huge riffs. Last year, in an interview in my fanzine, Hit It or Quit It, Rickly discussed the band's naive desire to "change the world" and the frustrating realization that the band's gender polemics were being dismissed by their new fans and scenemates: "Being back on the Warped Tour last summer, where you have kids going just as nuts for a band that sings about poop as they are for a band like ours, you eventually have to think, 'Does what I am saying matter at all?'" But Rickly's frustration hasn't dampened his resolve to both save his audience and further piss off the dudes who call him a faggot on message boards. On Thursday's forthcoming album, A City by the Light Divided (Island), he's not necessarily blunt, but his lyrics are much less oblique than before. It's the band's most powerful work to date, full of big torpedoing hooks and irresistibly catchy melodies, making the message in the music all the more subversive. Minus the Bear, MewithoutYou, and We're All Broken open. Thu 5/11, 6:15 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, sold out. All ages.

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